You are all set to type down the instructions on using a product on the blank screen, but how do you begin? The confusion mounts as the cursor blinks on the screen. Sure you want to convey information to your readers without making them yawn. But how?
There is a lot that goes into writing effective how-to blogs that successfully convey the message powerfully. Here’s where an instructive writing style comes into the picture that can add depth and detail to your how-to blogs.
What is an instructive style of writing?
The instructive writing style focuses on providing practical guidance on using a product clearly and concisely in a step-by-step manner. As it provides an improved structure, organization and presentation, it can also explain the topic better and with more clarity.
It can add more depth to your how-to articles, making them easy to understand and simple to navigate. Besides using this style of writing for how-to blogs, you can also use it to write manuals, academic articles, DIY processes, gaming processes, install an app and technical documentation.
How to use the instructive writing style for your how-to blogs?
Write a clear introduction
A clear introduction will help the audience gauge the results that the reader will achieve after implementing the instructions. Further, it will also list the equipment or the prior knowledge required to implement the experiment and accomplish the task.
The introduction will also talk about any precautions that the audience must be careful about. A clear introduction can also give more information and context about the background of the how-to blog.
Arrange the points in a logical sequence
Create a logical sequence for the instruction steps. Break the steps into shorter sentences for them to make sense, which can be presented with numbered bullet points. This can be a better approach compared to writing your how-to blog in paragraphs. More on this on the point to follow.
Use shorter sentences
If the how-to blog talks about a complex process, you can break the steps down into sections. This can be done by grouping the headings for different sections. This helps the readers to grasp the information in one section at a time, rather than being overwhelmed.
However, it is important to note that you must convey not more than one idea in a sentence. Use simple and clear writing. While writing your how-to blogs, put yourself in the reader’s shoes to better understand their perspective.
Cut down ambiguity
Cutting down ambiguity offers additional clarity to the how-to blog. A great way to do this is to keep an eye on repetitiveness, or redundancy. Further, avoid unnecessary fluff words, jargon and confusing phrases to ensure the message is communicated effectively. If the reader is unfamiliar with the jargon, ensure that you define those complex terms ahead in your how-to blog.
Use an active voice
Maintain the same personal perspective throughout your how-to blog. For example, if you have been addressing them as ‘you’ continue to do so throughout the blog. This ensures a uniform active voice. Refrain from changing it to passive voice; eg: ‘we’ or ‘them’.
There is nothing like visuals to support your text, especially if your how-to blogs talk about a highly intricate and technical concept. Visuals can be used as technical illustrations, screenshots, animated pictures, or diagrams. Ensure accurate labeling to avoid confusion.
For more detailed information, you can also leave a link to a video for a more detailed description. Besides supporting text-based instructions, visuals also help overcome linguistic barriers.
Before you begin writing your how-to blog
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
No, I don’t mean it’s going to take hours of preparation, I am just emphasizing the importance of preparation. Here’s what you should do before writing your how-to blog:
Identifying needs and problems
The first step is to identify your target audience’s needs, problems and common challenges. Moreover, considering the most frequently asked questions can give a clearer picture of what the audience is looking for. These insights can be gauged through surveys and polls on websites and social media handles.
Break down the problems
Once you’ve identified the problems, it’s time for you to break down the problem to analyze how to organize the structure and the flow. To begin with, you can make a list of how to overcome the problem. You can also make notes for post ideas that can support the blog.
Ask questions to yourself
Having a critical eye can help you solve problems and answer questions with your how-to blog in a much better way. Here are the questions you can ask yourself:
- Will this post solve the reader’s problems
- What questions will my readers have after reading this post
- Did I communicate the how-to process with clarity?
- Are there any illustrations, infographics, or diagrams, to support the process
- Are there any resources that I can link this post to?
Start with a broad overview of the topic
Share a broad overview of the procedure, or if there are any prerequisites that the reader must be aware about. Notes, warnings, tips and hints, must be set aside in a different section for better readability. You can conclude the how-to blog with a conclusion that speaks about the task completion.
Besides the above points, good research about the product is vital to creating a strong foundation for your how-to blogs.
Break down the topic into manageable chunks with detail
Breaking down difficult concepts into easy and digestible pieces of information makes the content understandable. To begin with, you can assess the procedure that you must document. Identify the steps included in completing these processes.
Next, organize these steps in the right sequence so that you are not missing out on anything. These steps could include linking your claims to credible resources to make them more trustworthy.
Offer guidance with useful resources on the topic
There is nothing like offering additional value to your audiences. These additional resources can back your claims and establish your brand as an authority in the domain. You can find useful resources on the following platforms:
- Search logs
- Social media
- Web analytics
- User research and more
How to mix different styles to enhance the how-to articles?
Can simply going for an instructive style make your how-to blogs bland? You can still make your how-to blogs interesting! We’d suggest mixing persuasive, creative and narrative writing styles to give your blogs some more dimensions. Here’s how you can fuse them with your how-to blogs:
Persuasive writing style
The persuasive writing style can be conveyed when the writer has a strong opinion about something and is persuading readers to take action in the desired direction. This persuasion is done by bringing in multiple arguments and analyses to support or prove the point.
You can share personal experiences and evidence in the how-to blog to persuade or emphasize the importance of the product. Further, you can support your claims with statistics and facts. This style can come to light when writing CTAs or when discussing pain points.
Creative writing style
Creative writing style comes into play when the writer breaks free from a robotic tonality, thinks outside the box and conveys a message that surprises the readers. You can mention how to use the product creatively. This style can also creep in when talking about the pain points or discussing diverse scenarios when the product can be used.
As it allows freedom of expression, it is one of the most enjoyable styles of writing, allowing you to breathe life into a dry how-to blog. This can help writers branch out varied perspectives to make the how-to blog even more interesting.
Narrative writing style
The narrative style aims to explain what happens somewhere or with someone; focusing on both fiction and non-fiction. Concerning how-to blogs, this style helps narrate the use of the product in diverse scenarios. With an instructional how-to blog, you can weave a story from a third-person perspective. The scenario that the narrative style creates can showcase vivid details about using the product.
Finding your voice
Many writers struggle to find the right voice for their brand. A fusion of multiple writing styles can help you perfect your craft and find your voice. Though it might feel puzzling and challenging in the beginning, you can begin by trying your hand at experimenting with these practices.
You can pen down sample articles and then get your creative juices flowing by adding a mixture of other writing styles. Exercises like these can help you with a firm grip on these writing styles. However, you must remember that each writing style comes with a set of rules that must be adhered to.
Practicing the right flow with the mix of writing styles that work for you can help you create motivational conclusions, intriguing introductions, meaty blog content and exciting headlines.
In a nutshell
The perfect writing style for your website can transform it by giving it a fresh perspective. However, you can also experiment with elements from different writing styles and not let a single style of writing bind you. Strategies such as these can help you find the right balance that works for your how-to blogs or your audience’s preferences and can explain your offering perfectly.
Finding a writing style that fits your brand image can create personality and help you find the right tone for your website. Time to create content that your audiences would love to read! You’ve finally created the content you’re proud of! Now what?
Wondering what’s the best way for it to knock at your audience’s inbox? Allow Icegram Express to sort, segment and reach your audience for flawless communication.